In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
What is the Gospel all about?
What’s the Gospel?
Before answering the question, it’s important to point out what the Gospel is not:
- It’s not that God delivered you from cocaine.
- It’s not that God has restored your family.
It’s not that God has given you loads of peace and joy.
- It’s not that you now have a wonderful purpose in your life.
- It’s not that you sense the love of God.
In other words, your personal testimony is not the Gospel.
Now don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying it’s wrong to share our personal testimonies with unbelievers; but I am saying that the Gospel of Christ is infinitely more important than our testimonies. If we have to choose between preaching the Gospel and sharing our testimony, the Gospel must always win!
So, back to basics and back to our initial question: What’s the Gospel?
The Gospel, according to the apostolic definition of it in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, is all about the atoning death and literal resurrection of our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Gospel hones in upon Christ, not us.
That’s why it’s so wrong to say a phrase which is quite in vogue in the contemporary evangelical world, namely, “We’ve got to live the Gospel!” It’s incorrect. We can’t live the Gospel because the Gospel was lived out by one person alone, the blessed and impeccable King of glory, Christ.
What we can do, however, is to live worthy of the calling with which we have been called (Ephesians 4:1) or live in such a way as to adorn or embellish the doctrine of our God and Saviour (Titus 2:10), but we most certainly can’t live the Gospel. The apostles never call upon us to do so. Such a concept would have seemed ludicrous to them.
The Gospel is about Christ, not about us.
Now, a real-life example:
Let’s say I’m talking to an unbeliever named Josh. I say to him, “Josh, you’re under the wrath of God because you’re an enemy of the Lord. Nevertheless, the good news is that Christ has given His life and resurrected for sinners like you”.
I’ve preached the Gospel to him. But I don’t stop there. The Gospel also issues a call to conversion. Josh won’t be saved for merely hearing the Gospel. There must be a summons to conversion.
“Josh, God calls you to put your faith in the crucified and resurrected Christ as your only means of salvation; He is demanding that you repent, turning away from your sin”.
The summons to conversion isn’t the Gospel. Nevertheless, it does form part of the Christian message.
As ambassadors of Christ, let’s preach the message of the King as faithful heralds: the good news of the Son of God who was crucified and raised again for wicked rebels like us.